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ETYMOLOG5T   OF LOCAL HAMES.                                               321
Tliis may seem an exaggerated statement; but I speak from personal
experience and with special reference 10 a critic who wrote that he thought
the identification of Maholi with Madhupuri far more improbable than its
connection with the Basque and Toda word uris which is said to mean * a Tillage/
Such philological vagaries have their birth in the unfortunate preference for
Urdu, which tiie English Cjoverament lias inherited from the former con-
querors of the country, though without any of their good reasons for the pre-
ference. They are farther fostered by a wide-spread idea as to the character
of the people and the country, which in itself is perfectly correct^ and wrong
only in the particular application. The Hindus are an eminently conservative
raee^ and their civilization dates from an extremely remote period. It is, there-
fore, inferred that most of their existing towns and villages are of very ancient
foundation and. If so, may bear names to which no parallel can be expected
in the modern Yemacnlar. This hypothesis is disproved by what has been said
above as to the continuity of Indian speech : it is farther at variance with all
local traditions. The present centres of population, as any oae can ascertain
for himself, if lie "will only visit the spots instead of speculating about them in
Ms study j are almost all subsequent la origin to the Muhammadan Invasion.
When they were founded, the language of the new settlers, whatever it may
have been in pre-historic timeSj was certainly not Turanian^ bat Aryan, as it
is now; and though any place,, which had previously been inhabited^ must
already have borne some names the cases in which, that old name was retained
would be very rare. Thus, it may be remarked in passing, the present discussion
supplies no ethnical argument with regard to the original population of the
country. The namesy once regarded as barbarous, but now recognized as Aryan,
must be abandoned as evidence of the existence of a non-Aryan race ; batj at
the same time^ since they are essentially modern, they cannot be taken as
supporting the counter-theory. The names of toe rivers, however, which also
are mostly Aryan., may fairly be quoted as bearing on ^ the point; for of all
local names these are the least liable to change,, as "we see In America and our
Colonies, where it is as exceptional to find a river with an English name as it is
to find a town witii an Indian oae. And a still stronger and more numerously
attested proof is afforded by the indigenous trees, nearly all of wMch (as may
tie          from the list given in an appendix to iMs volume) have names that
are unmistakably of Sanskrit origin*
Morroveitj Hindu conservatism, though it doubtless exists, is developed in
a very different way from the principle known by the same name in Enrope.
Least of all is ife shown in aay regard for ancient buildings, whether temples